Transformational Church Process

October 24, 2013
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Transformational Church: Creating New Benchmarks for Transformation

Belinda Jolley

How can your church know if you really are making and growing disciples?

The transformational church process helps churches create new conversations and new benchmarks focused around spiritual transformation. It is characterized by:
· People becoming more like Christ
· Congregations acting more like His Body
· Communities reflecting more of His Kingdom
A transformational church expects to see transformation in people's lives, the church and community.

Transformational Church: Creating a New Scorecard for Congregations (Thom Rainer and Ed Stetzer) presents the research and stories of churches across North America who are experiencing transformation. Several SCBC churches agree the process can create new conversations and benchmarks based on spiritual transformation. Robert Chapman (Pastor, Tabernacle Baptist Church, Union) says, “The Transformational Church process is a great asset to help churches discover where they are in terms of focusing on spiritual transformation (in addition to, not instead of traditional benchmarks such as participation or attendance, baptisms, etc.).”

After reading the book, Bob Moore (Pastor, Radiant Life Church, Elgin) felt this process would help them. Bob said, “We wanted to use the process to create some benchmarks based on spiritual transformation so we could later re-evaluate where we are to mark movement. We also wanted to see if we were ‘on track’ in several areas that clearly related to the seven elements of the Transformational Church.” This church had been going through a lot of transitions prior to using the process. Bob described those days as “conversations focused on events (many of which were not effective), finances (or the lack of them), and a pressure just to survive.” A big shift Bob saw at Radiant Life is how “conversations now center on using discipleship as the filter for what we do. We are no longer surviving, we are thriving. We are evaluating everything we do in terms of whether it is effective in helping us make and grow disciples.”

Click HERE to read more about Tabernacle Baptist and Radiant Life Church and the SCBC transformational church process.

The seven elements Bob mentioned surfaced, along with three categories, through the assessment of thousands of churches during the research.

The three categories are

1. DISCERN – Churches discover and understand their unique context just as any missionary does. Who lives here? What are their hurts? What are their dreams? Where do they spend their time? How do they relate to one another?

Missionary Mentality is the element within this category.

2. EMBRACE – Who are we? What do we value?

Vibrant Leadership, Relational Intentionality, and Prayerful Dependence are the elements within this category.

3. ENGAGE – What do we do?

Worship, Community, and Mission are the elements within this category.

Note the categories move from context to values to actions. The seven elements use current language that is not tied to any specific program or church. They also create the framework for the Transformational Church Assessment Tool (TCAT).

The South Carolina Baptist Convention has trained consultants to walk alongside a church through the process. These consultants were trained because of the generous gifts of local churches through the Cooperative Program. The consultants function as a facilitator/coach. A church will likely use a consultant to guide them in taking the assessment (TCAT), leading a discovery retreat and developing no more than three recommendations. Consultants serve as a coach to the pastor for six months following the discovery retreat. The pastor will determine how much or little a consultant is involved.


If your church is interested in working through the transformational church process, ask your pastor to contact Belinda Jolley for more information. You mail email Belinda at belindajolley@scbaptist.org or call her 803-227-6161.

Written by Belinda Jolley

Keywords: transformational , church , transformational church process

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